Aeroflot Airlines Employees Involved in Smuggling $50 Million Worth of Electronic Goods to Russia, Investigation Reveals
A federal investigation found that current and former Aeroflot Airlines employees helped smuggle $50 million worth of stolen electronic devices to Russia.
The investigation was a collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Protection, the New York City Police Department, and other government agencies.
About 10 defendants were allegedly involved in smuggling $50 million worth of electronic devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.
The crew members' luggage were inspected, and found millions of dollars of electronic devices. Several of those had been stolen, according to a Business Insider report.
Federal officers arrested eight leaders of the scheme on Monday afternoon, while two others are still on the loose.
Officials said defendants discussed having made between tens of thousands of dollars as much as $7.8 million in profit in a single day of smuggling. These were all discussed on wiretaps.
According to a Newsday report, many of the defendants were US-based wholesalers of electronic goods who have supplied many of the products, despite knowing that they were helping the smuggling efforts in violation of exporting laws.
The Department of State has invalidated 113 visas of Aeroflot Airlines employees related to the scheme.
"As alleged, the defendants were members of an international smuggling ring that used a network of operators here and in Russia to circumvent US export laws and regulations," United States Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a report.
DuCharme said that with today's arrest, the network had been broken, with the help of prosecutors who worked tirelessly with their agency.
The defendants allegedly used some of the airline's former and current employees to continue their smuggling scheme, according to officials. The officials further noted that it was a dangerous circumstance that their investigation uncovered.
Meanwhile, one of the defendants, Anton Perevoznikov, is currently on supervised release. He now awaits sentencing for the said illegal scheme.
The said ringleader, Sayuz Daibagya, is a Moscow resident and was said to take part in the actual smuggling.
Meanwhile, police in the United Kingdom had arrested another former flight attendant after she was found dealing drugs after getting laid off.
Aeroflot Airlines is current valued at $12.5 million. The airline is also said to be one of the world's oldest carriers.
The airline industry is just one of the many that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many have tried to adapt by introducing COVID-19 testing programs to passengers, which they could do before they travel.
American Airlines released a similar program last week from its central area in Dallas-Ft. Worth for routes to Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and Hawaii.
United Arilines Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. said that passengers' demand would be depressed for years despite carriers having enough cash to withstand the prolonged pandemic.
"While the pandemic is the worst crisis in the history of aviation, it also has presented us with opportunity," United Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in a Fox Business report.
Check these out:
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!